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Gluten-free Diet Improves Mental Clarity for Celiac Sufferers

Celiac.com 12/08/2014 - Many people with celiac disease report suffering from impaired cognition or "brain fog," but no good study had been done until a research team took an in-depth look at the issue. Of particular interest was the degree to which improved mental clarity in gluten-free celiac patients correlates with histological and serological measures of disease severity.

Photo: CC--SA 3.0The research team included I. T. Lichtwark, E. D. Newnham, S. R. Robinson, S. J. Shepherd, P. Hosking, P. R. Gibson, and G. W. Yelland, who are variously affiliated with the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Australia, the Eastern Health Clinical School at Monash University, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University in Bundoora, Australia, and the Central Clinical School at Monash University, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia.

The team’s longitudinal pilot study investigated relationships between cognitive function and mucosal healing in people with newly diagnosed celiac disease beginning a gluten-free diet.

The team evaluated eleven clinically diagnosed celiac patients (8 females, 3 males), ranging from 22–39 years of age. The test subjects submitted to a battery of cognitive tests at weeks 0, 12 and 52. The tests measured information processing efficacy, memory, visuospatial ability, motor function and attention.

Subjects received small bowel biopsies via routine gastroscopy at weeks 12 and 52 and results were compared to baseline Marsh scores. The researchers then compared cognitive performance against serum concentrations of tissue transglutaminase antibodies, biopsy outcomes and other biological markers.

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All patients had excellent gluten-free dietary adherence. They also showed substantially improved Marsh scores (P = 0.001, Friedman's test), while tissue transglutaminase antibody concentrations dropped from an average of 58.4 at baseline to 16.8 U/mL at week 52 (P = 0.025).

Results for four of the cognitive tests assessing verbal fluency, attention and motor function showed significant improvement over the 12 months, and these improvements strongly correlated with the Marsh scores and tissue transglutaminase antibody levels (r = 0.377–0.735; all P < 0.05).

However, the data did not show any significant connections with nutritional or biochemical markers, or markers of intestinal permeability.

Inpatients with newly diagnosed celiac disease, cognitive performance improves with a strict gluten-free diet in tandem with gut healing.

People with untreated celiac disease may suffer suboptimal cognition that can impair the performance of everyday tasks.

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Yeah I tend to have Mr. Hyde come out with gluten exposure. Honestly he was not present with my last few minor issues....anyway. Plenty of fluids, bone broths if she can do them. whole food soups. Avoid processed foods, have more whole foods and greens. Green and herbal teas can help. NOTE there ...

My daughter (6) was recently glutened by a friend of the family. She gave her a drink that didn't have gluten in it but was made at a factory that has gluten contamination. She recently just started a brand new school because we hadn't diagnosed her allergies yet and she has severe behavior pr...

I'm so sorry. Nursing school is rigorous enough on top of all this stress. And, kudos to you for cooking regularly even in school. I've been through a lot of school and I never managed that. I can see how it feels hopeless to try and change your roommate's behavior - almost like an insurmounta...

"Any Coeliac will tell you the most awkward time of the day for them is lunch" Ya just can't make stuff like this up. Lunchtime is awkward?

Shouldn't they be studying why celiacs who have been gluten-free for a year are still seropositive and having moderate to severe symptoms? It sounded like the pill was suppposed to be taken with meals that might have cc ? So why would they do a study where it's given with gluten-free meals?...